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Here’s how Bill Barr is trying to dodge accountability for his role in the assault on Lafayette Square

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Bill Barr (Brendan Smialowski:AFP)

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is facing a lawsuit brought by members of Black Lives Matter and other activist groups, who allege that the constitutional rights of nonviolent George Floyd protesters were violated when, on June 1, they were violently removed by law enforcement from Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. in order to clear a path for President Donald Trump and his allies to walk from the White House to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo-op. But Barr, reporter Colin Kalmbacher notes in Law & Crime, is arguing that that lawsuit lacks merit because he enjoys “qualified immunity.”

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In a memo filed this week, Barr argued, “Following days of unrest in the nation’s capital, on June 1, 2020, law enforcement officers dispersed a large crowd that had gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House. In their complaint, plaintiffs allege that the attorney general gave the order to clear the park, which plaintiffs claim violated their constitutional and statutory rights.”

The lawsuit, according to Kalmacher, is partly “premised on a Bivens action.” The term “Bivens action” comes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1971 ruling in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, and Kalmacher describes a “Bivens action” as “the lone remedy for suing a federal agent who deprives someone of their constitutional rights.”

“In Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, the Supreme Court found that Federal Bureau of Narcotics agents violated the 4th Amendment rights of Webster Bivens by entering his home, searching it and then arresting him without a warrant,” Kalmbacher explains. “The High Court threw down the gauntlet against this fairly common and illegal law enforcement practice — not only tossing the drug charges, but allowing Bivens to sue for redress and damages by finding an implied right because the right violated by federal agents was sacrosanct under the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.”

Kalmbacher adds, however, that “Bivens actions are increasingly difficult to win,” emphasizing that the U.S. attorney general “can almost certainly rest assured that” the claims in the lawsuit from BLM and others “never even see the light of a courtroom due to the doctrine of qualified immunity.”

Barr’s memo says: “The attorney general maintains that the claims against him are not viable and, as is his right, is preparing to file a motion to dismiss that will assert several threshold defenses from suit, including qualified immunity.”

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One civil rights attorney who disagrees with Barr’s claim of “qualified immunity” is Sasha Samberg-Champion, who tweeted:

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And Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, known for his expertise on immigration law, sarcastically chimed in:

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Attorney George Conway reveals two ‘great’ questions — that Trump can’t answer

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Prominent Republican attorney and Lincoln Project member George Conway on Monday offered his analysis of how reporters should question President Donald Trump.

Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, made his comments after watching video of Trump refusing to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Who do you think poisoned Alexei Navalny in Russia?”

“Uh,” Trump replied. “We’ll talk about that at another time.”

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2020 Election

Jaime Harrison says ‘I am living rent free in Lindsey Graham’s head’ — and he might be right

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Jaime Harrison, the Democrat challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham, on Monday said that his upstart campaign is panicking the incumbent.

Harrison was interviewed on MSNBC by "The Last Word" anchor Lawrence O'Donnell, who noted the most recent polling shows a tied race.

"Have you experienced any extra fund-raising surge over the weekend?" O'Donnell asked.

"Well, Lawrence, we have gotten tremendous support and we really appreciate it," Harrison replied.

"Do you believe you have the resources and the campaign team and the ground troops you need in South Carolina to actually pull this off?" O'Donnell asked later in the interview.

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2020 Election

Outrage against Dianne Feinstein as potential Judiciary chair comes out against Senate reform

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received harsh criticism on Monday after coming out against Senate reform of the filibuster.

“I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose," Feinstein argued.

"It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself," Feinstein falsely claimed.

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1308169580658012160

Feinstein is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Democrats regain the Senate, despite never attending law school or having ever tried a case.

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